In the footsteps of the Persian leopard – expedition to the Ustyurt plateau

A ten-day Ustyurt expedition, organized by ACBK along with the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan’s Forestry and Wildlife Committee, ended on the November 24. The aim of the expedition was to locate the Persian leopard, which has been recently captured using camera traps.

To provide permanent observation and to increase the probability of a new sighting, 18 camera traps were set up by the expedition team members, together with odour and fodder bait. The observations will last until mid-January 2019.

While the leopard could not be spotted yet, there were other interesting sightings: a caracal, as well as a Brandt’s hedgehog which would usually be hibernating at this time of year.

The expedition team has also found a young Urial female, probably torn apart by a leopard.

Side-Event on desert conservation and sustainable use at COP14 UNCBD

On 26 November 2018, a Side-Event on desert conservation and sustainable use took place at COP14 UNCBD in Sharm El Sheik.

Here, the Michael Succow Foundation presented current activities and results of CADI project.

Invitation-Flyer

Persian leopard has been discovered in Ustyurt Nature Reserve

Little reliable information exists about encounters with leopards in Kazakhstan in recent decades. In fact, the leopard is not even listed on the country’s fauna list.

The discovery came entirely by accident during a project by the Rufford Foundation involving supplementary feeding of vultures, which is currently being repeated in the Ustyurt Nature Reserve. Zhaskairat Nurmukhambetov coordinates the project and serves as Deputy Director of Science for the Nature Reserve. Reserve workers regularly place meat as bait in three different locations equipped with camera traps. As it turns out, the traps do not just attract vultures, but also many four-legged inhabitants of the Reserve: predators including wolves, foxes, steppe cats, caracals as well as local ungulates Ustyurt sheep, gazelles.

The CADI project supports Ustyurt Nature Reserve improving its management. To find out more about the state of the leopard, project partner ACBK has now set off on an expedition to the region.

Hot start of a new CADI Fellow

CADI-Fellow, Associate at the Research Institute of Zoology at Kazakhstan Ministry of Education and Science, Marina Chirikova, is not only a science-focused person but also committed to the environmental education of young people and students.

Right after her first expedition to the South Kazakhstan region Tschuli, Ms Chirikova organized a seminar for pupils of the school Nr. 5 in Almaty. The main topics were the conservation of cold winter deserts as well as the Red List of endangered amphibian and reptile species in Kazakhstan. Afterwards, she held a lecture on reptile’s diversity at the Kazakh State Women Pedagogical University.

“Educational measures, especially for the protection of reptiles, are not always easy to carry out”, explains Marina Chirikova. “People have many prejudices towards them.”

However, education is an important part of science, states Ms Chirikova. She plans on having more lectures at schools and continuing her work on an overview of relevant environment protection literature within the CADI project.

Moreover, Marina held a lecture on “Autumn activity of reptiles in southern Kazakhstan” on 6 November 2018 as part of the conference “Ecology and conservation of wildlife”.

Open Standards workshop in Barsakelmes (Kazakhstan)

Barsakelmes Strict Nature Reserve used to be an island in Aral Sea. Since the lake has almost decreased it is no longer an island. Native plant communities disappeared, most of fauna species are under severe thread, IUCN threatened ungulates such as Saiga, Kulan and Goitered Gazelle lost their habitats.

Together with the CADI national project partner ACBK, the administration of Barsakelmes Zapovednik, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), scientists and NGO’s the Michael Succow Foundation conducted a two-day ecosystem diagnostic mission, followed by an intense four-day participatory Open Standards workshop. Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation support protected area managers in systematic planning, implementing and monitoring their conservation efforts and to adapt and improve it systematically.

The workshop layed out a sound and comprehensive basis on the threads, stresses and contributing factors at the conservation targets of the protected area. The workshop participants, facilitated by Michael Succow Foundation, identified strategies to tackle or minimize threads and stresses.

 

IPBES workshop in Astana

Orientation workshop, dedicated to IPBES took place in Astana on 20 September. The event was organized by CADI in order to support international cooperation for nature conservation in Central Asia. Major goal of the workshop was the introduction to the structure and processes of IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). The presentations from Axel Paulsch from the Institute for Biodiversity-Network (Germany) provoked hot discussions. It became clear, that joining Central Asian countries to the platform would allow experts from the relevant governmental agencies, scientific institutions and NGO’s to increase their capacity as well as influence international agenda with the consideration of regional priorities. Decision-makers from the governmental agencies, as well as representatives of scientific, non-governmental and International Organizations from Kazakhstan took part at the event.

IPBES workshop in Tashkent

IPBES workshop took place in Tashkent on 18 September. The event was organized by CADI in order to support international cooperation for nature conservation in Central Asia. Major goal of the workshop was the introduction to the structure and processes of IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). Joining Central Asian countries to the platform would allow experts from the relevant governmental agencies, scientific institutions and NGO’s to increase their capacity as well as influence international agenda with the consideration of regional priorities. Decision-makers from the governmental agencies, as well as representatives of scientific, non-governmental and International Organizations from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan took part at the event.

Desert hero was awarded the “Dustlik” order of Uzbekistan

The hero of the project “Defeating the desert” of “gazeta.uz”, Nomos Dzhumaev, was awarded the “Dustlik” order on behalf of the president of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The photo, video and audio report was initiated by CADI.

Nomos Dzhumaev, a farmer in the Surchandarya desert in Uzbekistan, took up the fight against the degradation and erosion processes of the desert forests under current land management and its accompanying lost of species. Together with his family, he planted 15 thousand saxaul saplings in the desert, turning lifeless sands into a forest with a size of 50 hectares. This is the territory of 35 football fields.

Hereby, he managed to prove that a careful pasture management adapted to the desert ecosystem can provide sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem preservation at the same time.

The Aral ghost

In the course of CADI project an impressive photo, video and audio report on one of the most mysterious places in Uzbekistan was developed: the ghost town Aralsk-7. The now completely abandoned village was located on the island of Vozrozhdenie in the Aral Sea. Due to the dramatic decrease of the Aral Sea, the island is now part of the mainland.

Journalist: Nikita Makarenko, Photographer: Elyor Nematov

Report (in Russian)

Official CADI start in Turkmenistan!

The project agreement for the implementation of CADI in Turkmenistan has been signed on 20 August between the State Committee of Turkmenistan for Environmental Protection and Land Resources and the Michael Succow Foundation. The signing was preceded by about 1.5 years of preparatory work.

The agreement represents the latest step in the long-standing, fruitful cooperation between the two partners on a range of projects on nature conservation and resource management in Turkmenistan under a Memorandum of Understanding.

CADI intends to implement a broad work package that aims to preserve the biodiversity and ecosystem services of cold winter deserts in Turkmenistan. One of the main tasks is to prepare a nomination document for the inscription of the protected areas Repetek and Bereketli Garagum into the list of World Natural Heritage sites. In addition, within CADI scientific-technical justifications for the establishment, extension or IUCN status adjustment of a protected area in Turkmenistan will be prepared.

The activities in Turkmenistan are jointly implemented by the National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna (NIDFF) in Ashgabat and the Michael Succow Foundation.